Posted in being in nursing school

Wait…what???

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My sweet dad told me yesterday that I was “smart enough to be a doctor if I wanted to”. How cute. He thinks that was a compliment. This nursing degree was, easily, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The brevity of information you’re expected to retain is overwhelming. The time I’ve spent away from my son is time I will never get back. The back to back 12 hour shifts that I’m not getting paid for is exhausting and in this program we do over 1000 hours of that. I reckon, yes, I’m smart enough to be a doctor but I would submit to you that maybe somewhere deep down doctors are smart enough to be nurses, too.

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Posted in being in nursing school, on a personal note

Shoes.

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Ok. I admit it.

I totally followed the crowd. I bought the $137.00 pair of Dansko Professional XPs a month before I started nursing school (pictured at the top). I was excited. I had asked my nurse friends, and my bartending friends – both of whom spend a good bit of time on their dogs (feet). They raved about them; I’d even go as far as to say they idolized them. But me? I had no idea. My job required me to sit 7 hours of the day — something I could comfortably do in a 4-6″ pair of heels. This whole “comfy” shoes phenomenon was new to me. So, I did what any other n00b would do and I asked people “in the know”.

There is a certain…ok, I’m not going to sugar coat it, exaggeration of awesome in the fields where I sought my advice. Everyone works the “longest hours ever” with feet that hurt really really bad when you’re looking for advice on a good pair of shoes. So, I went with their advice — their tiny feet advice. I was getting advice from people who wear size 5 to size 7 shoes with perfect arches. Dudes, I wear damn near a size 11 and these shoes are heavy as hell. My feet are so narrow that my feet didn’t know what was going on – but you know what? I suffered through it. I suffered through it because these shoes were $137.00. I refused not to wear them. But now that I only have 2 months and 29 days (who’s counting) left, I have decided enough is enough. I’m actually doing 12 hour shifts now and my the health of my feet are important.

I have long been wearing compression stockings (shout out to TCS; cutest CSs ever!), so I didn’t need any help there. I decided to go on the hunt for some cooshy, light tennis shoes. And not expensive Nikes, just some $50 shoes. I found Skechers with memory foam inserts. Blessed be these shoes. I praise the shoe gods from whom all shoe blessings flow for these shoes. Stepping into them felt like stepping into a fluffly cloud full of awesome in comparison to the hard and unforgiving Danskos I had previously worn. I got sucker punched into buying arch inserts — I wore them and regretted it. I have flat feet – arch support just bruised my poor flat feet. I took those suckers out and just enjoyed the flat memory foam. I can’t believe it took this long for me to switch. If anybody wants some ridiculously overpriced Danskos, I have some for sale…ya know, for $100 that isn’t even worth it. Size 42!

-HN

Posted in being in nursing school, fear of the unknown

Bringing it all to a close

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The first month of the last semester of nursing school is almost over (You may have to read that three more times to understand what I just said). I did a great job on my Exit HESI, and thank goodness I did, because I studied so so so hard for that thing.

This, coupled with my nothing-lower-than-a-B grades mean I get to choose a specialty for my final clinical rotation. I chose Labor and Delivery as my first choice, and the OR as my second choice. Having already spent 3 months in the OR over the summer, I’d like to give another specialty a try to help make the decision much easier when I leave school and become a full fledged nurse.

Let’s talk about that for a minute. I feel absolutely and completely torn. What the hell kind of nurse do I want to be? I love Labor and Delivery, and I love the Operating Room. Do I have to know right now? What if I pick the wrong thing? What if they don’t like me? I’ll be 33 years old when I graduate – not exactly a spring chicken, but not even a toe in the grave just yet. Does that mean I’ll have less time to switch teams once I do choose what kind of nurse I want to be? All good questions, sure, but are they pointless? Considering the fact that the job chooses where we get to be, and not our preferences, I think it’s a little pointless to fret like I am. Is it indecision, or is it fear of the med-surg floor that I can’t get over. Nothing about me wants to be a medical surgical nurse. Nothing. I know that sounds ridiculously spoiled to you seasoned nurses who did your time in the trenches before rising to the glory that is your preferred specialty. I totally get it. I know.

I learned an awful lot about med-surg in our clinical rotations. You know, things like I don’t want to do this, and I don’t want to do that – and man are these nurses miserable or what, and nobody respects their nurse manager. The patients are so sad to be here and the nurses don’t want to be here either. Skill wise I learned a lot, too, but it was grossly over shadowed by the horrowed experience of all those around me – and their constant complaining that they hated their jobs.

I feel too old to be miserable. I’ve already done the misery – that’s what brought me to nursing. I don’t want to do it again. I have a young family and I want to add another member to that family; if I have to be away from them, I want to love what I do. What’s wrong with that? I can hear my seasoned nurse friends telling me that if I want to be a nurse, I have to have the skills and the only way to get the skills is to do med-surg…but I disagree. I disagree because I believe in change and evolution. I think a new era of nursing is arising and I think we are seeing people struggle in specialties as new grads, or new transitions, when previously, you came into a specialty an absolute badass — and we can’t handle that it isn’t true anymore. The fumbly nurses are not only in med-surg anymore — they’re coming into your specialties and by the time they’re done with that specialty, they are absolute specialized badasses. I totally get it, seasoned nurse. I get it. Why does this new grad get to waltz right into what took me years to accomplish — and then do it being paid leaps and bounds more than I ever had when I started. I get that. I have that same feeling sitting in class with accelerated nursing students who just 2 semesters ago I was helping to interview to determine if they would get in to our School of Nursing. It’s called hating. I have to call myself out on this pretty frequently. It’s tough. So, I get it.

Not quite sure what I’m going to do about your feelings towards what I want for my life, though. It will be hard to know you don’t like me or are unhappy with my decisions, but that’s just it. These are my decisions to do with my life. I am going to try my damndest not to disappoint you, though, seasoned nurses. I’m going to try my damndest!!!

In other news, I have been looking into Graduate Nurse residency programs here in town and some of them are absolutely amazing. They’re going to be great to get rid of that culture shock when people are going through the same thing as you just out of school. I’m praying I get one of the specialties I’ve requested. I have some certifications I’m working on and hoping to have done before I graduate to make me an even better candidate. At the end of the day though, I just want to be happy – with a handful of coworkers I can call my friends and mentors. Is that too much for a girl to ask?

 

Posted in being in nursing school, Extracurriculars

New Year Reflections

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Happiest of New Years, WordPress readers! I am so thrilled to announce that I am a Certified Lactation Counselor as of December 11th, 2015! I just found out this week and I couldn’t be more excited. What a great way to go into the 5th and final semester of nursing school.

But, I have to be honest. I ran into a little bit of a wonderful experience that has made me feel torn about what my 2016 future may hold.

You see, 2 months ago I sent an email to my Nurse Manager from my OR summer externship to check in — ya know, see how things are and let her know how I’m doing. No different to what I have been doing since I was in the externship. I loved my experience there. Everything about it – the people I worked with, the hours, the management. Sure, there were things that I would like to have seen improved morale wise, but improvement is an opportunity in my eyes. At any rate, we met over coffee (actually, she had tea) and chatted. And then, something amazingly unexpected happened; she told me she had put my name forward for one of the nurse residency programs here in the area for when I graduate. How exciting!!! I knew I had some soul searching to do…because the next few words that came out of her mouth had me thinking on my toes “I mean, that is, if you’re still interested?”

Sigh. Am I still interested? Of course I’m still interested! I LOVE the OR!!! …but, I also love Women’s Health — I just became a Lactation Counselor and have plans to pursue that. But hell, who says I can’t have both? I can very well have both. She just offered me a shoe-in for a nurse residency program that is highly competitive. A foot in the door – and not just any foot, but a foot in a specialty area that new grads don’t just walk right into at a hospital that everybody wishes they could call their nursey home. Am I interested? Hell yeah I’m interested. So — how did I answer her?

“Yes, of course!! That is wonderful. Thank you so much. What do I need to do?” That’s how I answered her. I, of course, told her that there were two things I was passionate about — The Operating Room, and Women’s Health. To my relief, she also loved Women’s Health and told me that whenever she had the chance to float to help out in another unit, she always chose women’s health. Ahh. A common ground. Listen, I’m no idiot. I recognize fully that I have a 3 year old who is about to start school soon. I recognize that my husband is broody and ready for another child – as am I. I fully recognize that the OR is going to have amazing hours, less weekends and less holidays – especially at this particular unit. And I recognize that nursing is a wonderful journey full of different paths that can be traversed at any given time.

This is not business.

This is not business.

I have to remember that nursing is NOT business. I don’t have to be an accountant, or a market researcher or a sales person. I get to be a nurse in a  wide variety of positions and specialties. I can switch and change my mind at any time and at 32 years old — I’m still relatively young and have another 30 years of work ahead of me.

I once met an OR nurse (DNP, CNOR at that) who was also…a Certified Lactation Educator. She did them both. I like that. I sat on a student panel to talk about my OR externship and expressed to the group of seasoned OR nurses that I went into nursing to become a Lactation Consultant…and I still want to achieve that dream. But, I’m in love with the OR and will find a way to marry them. An overwhelming supportive sigh of “awwww” came from these nurses who assured me I could do both. That was a great feeling.

Somehow, I’m going to pull off both of these things.

Watch this space.

In other news, the final semester starts next week. I’m ready to get this over with — I’m also not looking forward to all of the clinical hours and having my nose in a book again. On top of that, I have the final push of potty training my son, we’re down to one car, my husband is nursing a bum foot and I have to start registering L.D. for school. Another great reason to accept all the help a resilient nurse manager is offering me. I have plenty to think about!!

What is in your 2016 plan?

 

 

Posted in Extracurriculars

CLC Course and LAT Competency

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Well, guys…

That’s the 4th semester of nursing school in the bag as of December, 2015. I only have one semester left (can you believe it?) and somebody will (hopefully) be calling me a nurse. I finished this semester with 4 As. That felt good after that mind blowing 9 credit hour B from 3rd semester. As a promise to myself, I am now ACLS certified!! It’s amazing how empowering that feels.

On the vision board I started while I was a pre-nursing student, I added 5 acronyms in the following order:

  1. BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  2. RN – Registered Nurse
  3. CLC – Certified Lactation Counselor
  4. IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
  5. DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice

I wrote them in that order, because that was the order I believed I would achieve them in. Imagine my excitement when I found out that wasn’t true!

I finished my 4th semester early so that I would be able to mosey on down to Tampa and fulfill a dream of mine at the insistence of my nothing-short-of-amazing OB professor. That course was the Certified Lactation Counselor course offered by Healthy Children – a non-profit organization that focuses on making sure the littles have a great start at life.

The CLC course is a 5 full-day course facilitated by (in my case) two CLC, IBCLC RNs with multiple years of experience as lactation consultants, followed by a 100 question multiple-choice exam and a competency evaluation using the Lactation Assessment Tool taught to us in class. The facilitators were both experts on the information and that was ever so clear in their presentations. Coming on the heels of just having finished up my  Women’s Health course at school, much of the information I already knew…but I also learned SO much. It was an amazing class.

Here’s my gripe:

You have to wait 6 – 8 weeks to find out if you passed the exam. OMG, the anxiety until then. Luckily, I will have plenty to keep me busy while I wait in school.

We had to take the ridiculously subjective LAT competency BEFORE we started the 100 question exam. Here’s the thing, fellow humans, you have to pass one of 2 videos that are shown to you as part of the exam. If you fail both of these videos, it doesn’t matter if you were a rockstar on the 100 multiple choice portion of the exam. At the end of 5 long days jam packed with information, homework and time spent away from home (you have to travel to a destination where this class is being held), God only knows the disappointment you would feel if you fail any portion of this exam. Starting off with the toughest part of the exam was pretty discouraging. The information you are assessing is so very subjective and you’re praying that the experts were thinking just like you — and what’s worse? You won’t know for 6 – 8 weeks.

HAVING griped about that, the beauty is that I still walk away with 45 hours of lactation education under my belt and I cannot shake a finger at that. That is wonderful.

A little extra boost of confidence is that as we were leaving, one of the (wonderful) facilitators asked me to come back and teach for them once I get a couple of years under my belt. That felt great 🙂 I told her I would love to! Let’s just hope I get passed this test, first!!

 

 

 

Posted in being in nursing school

Labor and Deliver Me

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Guys. I found my happy place. I mean, c’mon. We all knew where it was but I am so happy that I actually found it: Labor & Delivery. So, we all know I am in love with the Operating Room. That hasn’t changed. I LOVE the OR. Even more exciting than the OR is being able to have some serious autonomy in labor and delivery. But, you know what’s so beautiful? L&D has it all. An OR, autonomy and sweet little babies. My job would require me to read strips, make some serious judgment calls, prevent hemorrhages and recognize emergent situations way before the doctor is even on site. That is some serious autonomy. It doesn’t hurt that the end result is a beautiful brand new life. I love that.

Bonus? I get to teach. I get to teach Childbirth Classes, sibling classes, breastfeeding classes. So many great great classes. I love that, too. Now, every amazing thing comes with a downside, and I’ve seen this downside more than my fair share of times…circumcisions. I am not against circumcisions. I’m not particularly for them either. This is truly an area where it is totally up to mom & partner to decide the best for their family. HOWEVER, I AM A FIRM BELIEVER IN ANESTHESIA AND A DAMN GOOD SURGEON. I cannot stress enough to you parents out there to make sure you understand that local anesthesia is NOT a given in circumcisions. Don’t send your little dude back there without knowing anesthesia use of your surgeon. There is no worse sound on the planet than hearing a newborn scream. Nothing worse. While that makes me want to vomit in my mouth, it has also strengthened in me my first resolve as a nurse –advocate for the tiniest of patients by making sure parents are well informed about what happens to their children when they are ushered away.

Now that that is out of the way — let’s get down to how in the hell I’m going to get on an L&D floor as a new grad. It’s damn near impossible. I am hoping to make moves that will make it not so impossible, but…I appreciate that it is damn near impossible. To be in the recovery room and circulate through the OR, you need to be ACLS certified — OK, check. I will have that on November 30th!

To teach childbirth classes, you better know a thing or two about breastfeeding – CHECK, I will have my Certified Lactation Counselor credential on December 11th.

I joined the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrical and Neonatal Nurses, but I’m having trouble finding the active chapter here at home. I will have to keep searching for them because they have to be out there somewhere!

I am also going to look into a STABLE certification, a NRP certification and take a Fetal Heart Monitoring class as well. Basically, I am doing everything in my power to become an amazing candidate right out of the gate. I am pray it all works out and hoping I can really make a difference in the lives of others the way that differences were made in my young family’s life.

Wish me luck!